Alex & Claire B73 - Scandinavian Adventure.

(Click on images to enlarge)

Having had some great times travelling in the southern part of Europe in our Lagonda 1955DHC in 2007 and 2008 (France, Italy, Switzerland Austria, Germany etc.) we decided to explore more northern European parts.

We started by driving to Tilbury taking a massive ferry (loading capacity of 3.6miles in length of trucks) to Göteborg in Sweden. The journey on the Tor Hafnia took 32h and with only 4 other passengers and 3 non commercial cars was very pleasant.

The Sea was calm, the cabin comfortable and the food Russian. We stayed in Göteborg’s Elite hotel for two days while exploring the town. There are some brilliant seafood places, notably a small wooden hut dispensing the most delicious prawns with schnapps and beer.

As we had no further plans for our route except going southwards we stayed in some small villages along the route driving towards Malmö. We changed our mind and took the ferry from Helsingborg to Helsingore in Denmark and decided to visit the Louisiana Art Museum in Humlebæk. What a fantastic show there is right on the beach with wonderful artefacts and sculptures - a must for any discerning traveller.

Our next stop was Copenhagen and we decided to treat ourselves and stayed in the Radisson SAS Royal next to Tivoli in the centre of the town. This was finished in the 1960’s by the renowned Danish architect Arne Jacobson and has now been restored and given a makeover taking it back to its glory days as well as having a fantastic personal service. We parked our car (DHC 1955) outside on the road, it was a perfect match to the architecture - even the concierge said so.

The tasting meal on the 20th floor is a must as it consists of 7 courses accompanied by 7 generous glasses of different wine with a remarkable view over the town.

Three days later we drove towards Roskilde visiting the Viking Longboat Museum and on to the Egeskov Slot Museum.

Some very nice cars and a plethora of motorbikes were viewed as well as the usual Danish horse and cart -
We stayed that night in a small village called Faaborg with a huge harbour for private yachts. Looking for something to eat we could smell the smokery from afar and decided that this shed was the place to have dinner. After having had mackerel, prawns, eel, herring and salmon a couple of schnapps and beers we retired to our little hotel feeling jolly.

The next day we travelled into Germany on a 40 minute ferry crossing and on to Kiel. This is a rather sad town as the war did immense damage to the buildings and unfortunately it looks like the effort to reconstruct went badly wrong as it does in so many places. One consolation was that the food served was brilliant if you like fish. You may have noticed I haven’t written a word about the car. There is nothing to say as the Lagonda was behaving perfectly and purred as a touring car should.

Our next stop was Hamburg. We went to the Reeperbahn in the St Pauli district which it turned out is slightly seedier than Soho used to be in the 60’s. The “old” town and harbour is worthwhile visiting and has an excellent Prototype Motorcar Museum down in the Docklands ( We tried to get into the Model Railway Exhibition but the queue was 2½ hours long (Note to self: pre-book via hotel). In the morning we went to see the car showroom of Thiessen and were made very welcome by a Mr Meinrenken that showed us round (

Our first slight mishap happened just before Stade as the overdrive functioned intermittently. A Volkswagen garage with the latest in technology and computers like I haven’t seen before, Autohaus Czychy in Neu Wulmsdorf (, let us use the car lift and I filled the overdrive with transmission oil that I suspected was blowing out of the vent).
At one time we had 7 mechanics and the garage owner looking on and asking numerous questions. They were really interested in the workings of the Lagonda as they hadn’t seen mechanics like that for a long time. Cost – beer money for the mechanics. Well, we didn’t expect that. On we went again to a small town called Stade. Whatever you do, visit this place as it is a medieval jewel from an architectural as well as an historical point of view.

We stayed over at Oldenburg in some hotel (4 rooms) that was on the second floor of an office building. The owner was like something out of a comical horror movie with his sidekick Igor. Enough said, we will laugh about it in some years to come. The next stop was Groningen in Holland, and we booked into the Hotel Martini (!). The drive there was wonderful as our Sat-Nav took us off the main roads and through the most fantastic and beautiful flat countryside - no mountain climbing here except for novices. There was a great market on the square with fish, cheese, vegetables, general food stalls, beer as well as clothes. Obviously, we ate there. Next day we headed towards Amsterdam. The first hotel where we asked for accommodation was €420.00 for the room and a further €48.00 for 24hours to park the car. We gave that one a miss and found a hotel on the outskirts (€120 & €30) which was pretty grotty with worn carpets and furniture that one would rather not sit on. We had a great meal at the Kantijl & de Tijger for an Indonesische Rijsttafel as well as a few drinks at one of the oldest pubs in Amsterdam called Hoppe. Instead of wood shavings on the floor, there is sand.

Our trip from Amsterdam going south was a bit of a nightmare as it was raining very hard and it is basically all motorway and manic - we were lucky that we didn't have any close encounters, but if there is a next time we will take a different route. Staying over in Brugge, or Brugues, was a great experience but the weather had turned for the worse. It is a great town and the hotel was very nice with free car parking.

Then we headed on to Calais and not having booked the Euro Tunnel or a ferry we enquired about the train first and were quoted £220 one way and £216 return. How does this work? Clearly they didn’t want us to travel with them. In the end we took Sea France at £119 which was cheaper than P&O.

After landing in Dover we experienced the same overdrive problem again and found a small garage, S & S Motors, Hill View Garage in Folkestone, Kent. Helpful is not the right word as they dropped everything they were doing and let me use their car ramp. The cost - money for the tea kitty. Wonderful!

Nerdy facts: We drove 1,237 miles, used 265.7 litres of fuel, 3 litres of oil, ½ litre of transmission oil, 20.69mpg which is an improvement of over 2mpg pre overdrive. Duration: 2 weeks. The cost in £'s, don’t ask!

Since returning home we owe Simon Constable many thanks for helping to fix the overdrive problem by fitting a long pipe to the vent valve which returned the oil back into the unit.

Next year? We might transport the car to Helsinki or maybe Athens and try to get back from there. We will see!


Alex & Claire B73